Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Acquiring a new concept is not explicable-by-content

Nicholas Sheaa1

a1 Faculty of Philosophy and Somerville College, Philosophy Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 4JJ, United Kingdom.


Carey's book describes many cases in which children develop new concepts with expressive power that could not be constructed out of their input. How does she side-step Fodor's paradox of radical concept nativism? I suggest that it is by rejecting the tacit assumption that psychology can only explain concept acquisition when it occurs by rational inference or other transitions that are explicable-by-content.

(Online publication May 19 2011)

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